Hi, my name is Jasmin and I’m a victim of lifestyle creep. Well, actually it’s less “victim” and more “I did this to myself.” I had such good intentions starting out, I really did, but the last year weakened my defenses.
When I had extreme financial goals like paying off $10,000 of medical debt there was no space for lifestyle creep. It wasn’t an option. Lately though, my financial goals have become less urgent. Also, I have to admit my rough car year has really gotten to me. I saved, saved, saved, and all it got me was $6,000 in the hole after the car I bought bit it after only 3 months. I didn’t see it at first, but looking back over how I’ve financially reacted, it definitely got to me. It’s made me bitter, and bitter people aren’t great at anything. Bitterness taints your every move, and in this case it’s tainted my every financial move. Yes, I’m still paying more than the minimum on my car payment I was forced to get when I had to buy my second car of the year (you can even hear the bitterness in this sentence), but I’m not in nearly as big of a hurry to pay it off as I hoped I would be. I had big plans to pay it off in a few months, but at the glacial (though still more than the minimum payment) pace I’m currently going at, I’ll be lucky if it’s paid off by next summer. I’m just struggling to care.
But I was talking about lifestyle creep. Where do lifestyle creep and bitterness intersect? At Target. When I’m bummed about the financial situation I’m in, I spend $30 on shirts I don’t even really like and on products I’ve convinced myself I need. Or I’m too lazy to buy groceries at a proper grocery store so I end up buying “food” at CVS for double the price. My bitterness has made me feel entitled to a lazy lifestyle which is causing me to pay off my debts slower. It’s a real problem. I’ve even stopped budgeting because I’m so disappointed in how much I spend each month on disposable goods. Buying sweaters online at 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday while eating overpriced snacks from CVS isn’t the life I want to live, I’ve just gotten lazy. My lifestyle creep vices have taken over my budget.
The reality is I have more disposable income than I’ve ever had before, and yet I’m struggling to pay off a measly $5,000 car payment. I’ve let my lifestyle grow to the point where it’s causing me to push back financial goals. It’s got to stop. I might still be bitter about my bad financial luck this year, but I’ve got to get over it. I’m not sure what will reinvigorate my motivation, but I’ve got to start somewhere. That somewhere is here. I’m publicly declaring that I’m struggling to stick to a budget. I mean, who knows if it will work, but it can’t really hurt can it? I think my next step will be to reevaluate the way I budget. I’ll keep you updated. Oh, and Target? You’re cut off.
Jasmin is Vice President of Marketing & Operations for Pete the Planner®. Jasmin runs special projects, manages programming for clients, and stews over new and creative ways to engage people with their finances. In her downtime you can find Jasmin hanging a light fixture or painting a room at her fixer upper.